Category Archives: Toddler Activities

Today has been..



Starting with the positive – yesterday Z went on his first visit alone to HIS friend’s house (ie without his siblings or me!)MashaAllah Z has really taken to her son. We had arranged this about 10 days ago and he was counting down the days. I went to pick him up after a few hours and he was really happy to have visited his very own friend. He seems to be wanting more and more time with ‘his friends’ these days. I think he’s slowly leaving that ‘very youngish’ age where his parents and siblings were enough. What I realised, was how important it is that I provide the same opportunities for all my children and not just my first born.

I had a full day of home ed planned today which completely went out of the window as I had to rush baby S to the hospital. Sadly, the situation has not been resolved, and if she is showing the same symptoms tomorrow, I am going to have to take her back to the hospital and demand some tests. I feel so frustrated with these hospitals!

To end on a positive note, this time last year, I was enduring the pangs of labour…yes, I cannot believe it – baby S is going to be 1 years old tomorrow inshaAllah subhanAllah! I really don’t know where this year has gone.

So, a little about baby S – she’s spoilt by all mashaAllah. We all love her to bits mashaAllah tabarakAllah. She loves Arabic anasheed. She stood alone in the middle of the room for the longest time ever today much to the delight of her siblings. She can say Ummaa (Ummi),   -ish (points to the fish), uh oh (when something happens), and today she said another new word – ‘dog’! We couldn’t believe it. She actually pointed to a dog in a baby book that R reads to her about 5 times a day and said ‘dog’ and then kept on saying it whilst pointing which had us in fits of laughter.

It was a nice end to a bit of a stressful day. I’m quite worried about her health subhanAllah. Please make dua for my little baby S – that Allah protects her and grants her good health. Ameen.


Recently in pictures..


Just a few things we’ve been up to…

Here are some plants_3-4_vocabulary_cards we used for our Plants topic incase anyone wants to use them. R matched up the words to their meaning and we discussed it in relation to what she read in this book plants_3-4_nf_book_-_mid.

All About Z (and his first lapbook!)


My middle man is 3 years old and almost 9 months mashaAllah! I cannot believe in a few months time he’ll be 4 inshaAllah. Who remembers when he was born?! I wonder if there are any readers out there who have been following the blog since then. 🙂

Z is my child who is different to the other two. He is my test. He is my child who shows me the most affection mashaAllah. He is who he is. Home Ed is definitely going to be different with him. He doesn’t learn like his sister does and his strong character is going to mean that I am going to have to do things differently with him.

Z, like most boys his age loves trains, cars and is mad about fire engines and firemen! So, my house at the moment revolves around HORSES and FIRE ENGINES and in Y’s case – really smelly nappies – I need to start potty training that one!

In the last few weeks, Z has noticed WORDS everywhere. He asks me to read slogans, supermarket labels – everything. I remember when R did this. I take it as a sign that he might be ready to learn some phonics and begin reading. I’m not going to push it though as he is very very very young. I’m going to do it in a really fun and easy way inshaAllah and see how it goes. I read to my kids A LOT and I believe this is something to continue which can hopefully aid their own reading.

Z very proudly made his first lapbook before we went away. He finished all the mini books but we only put it together recently and he is very very happy with his first book!

Here are a few pics of activities I have been doing with Z including his lapbook:

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Last Friday R was booked for two trips in the Museum, a Bubbleworks show and a workshop on blood. She really enjoyed the Glorious Blood workshop. I guess all of these trips are a means of providing her with avenues in case she wants to venture down those paths further herself. HE Facilitation.

I was speaking with one of the sisters there and we began talking about what she does with her little ones (she has 6 children ages 11 to a few months old mashaAllah) whilst she does formal work with the older ones. The conversation led to how much the children watch.

For a long time now, I have felt uncomfortable about what my kids watch and how much they watch. We don’t have a TV – we got rid of all the free channels by cutting the cable off back in 2005 when R was only a year old. But we do have the internet, DVDs and iplayer.

I have been reading up a lot about the ill effects of watching too much  (in our case, not TV but maybe iplayer and youtube). I have decided after a bit of research to limit as much as I can and if they do watch then I’d like it to be something educational.

With that in mind, I made a list of alternatives to watching and actually found that there are entire websites dedicated to providing lists of activities for all age groups so that watching is reduced or in some radical websites – eliminated completely!

A recent alternative for us was the classic camp at home. I brought down sheets and blankets and draped them over our dining table. Boys and R loved it – just needed torches!

As I mentioned in previous posts, doing formal work with R in the morning isn’t working. And so, for some time now we do our formal home ed in the afternoon instead. My boys are very active and with their Algerian blood they need to run otherwise they DESTROY!

So, yesterday, as soon as breakfast was done, we ventured to our lovely local common. It was freezing cold but it was great mashaAllah. We started off in the empty children’s park and the kids played on the swings and slides. And then walked right to the top of the Common to visit the Rookery. On the way up there, we saw many live worms which caught the kids interest. R picked them up from the paths and moved them to the muddy grassy area (she was scared they would dry up in the sun!) Z then found a squashed dead worm which he became obsessed with and kept asking me why Why WHY it had died. A black crow squaking caught Y’s attention which we observed for some time. R then suggested that one day we come back and do some bird watching. I asked her what we would need for that (facilitation in play on my part). She said a notebook to note down their characteristics and then when we got home we could look them up in an encyclopedia. I asked her what the best season would be for bird watching (facilitation again) She said Spring. I asked her why and she said due to the mating season and all the activity that it involves – birds building nests, collecting food etc. 

The World was very much our classroom yesterday. And I felt grateful to Allah that we could share interesting discussions on a cold Monday morning instead of my children being locked up in a classroom with a curriculum that imprisons so many children. 

The kids had fun scootering back down the paths we had struggled to climb. We then saw a mushroom which led on to a discussion about fungi we eat and fungi we cannot eat.

Back home, the boys were shattered (yes!) – warm pasta for lunch and hot chocolate. And then it was Quran, Maths and R declared she was going to do some work on her horse project instead of her formal English textbook work – which I definitely agreed to! R then had kickboxing in the evening.

Oh, and one extra good thing about yesterday’s 2.5 hours in the park was that the kids got a lot of exercise and so did I. 

It is very much all about alternatives for us at the moment.  


Family News!!!


I am under shock and my hands are slightly shaking as I type this.

My little 25 year old brother announced today that he has become a Muslim and is getting married in a few weeks! Am totally under shock. I can’t believe it. I always said I would shout it from the rooftops if someone in my family embraced Islam.

Well, here I am SHOUUUUUUUUUUTING it! lol

Takbeer! Allah Akbar!

Back to a Semi Stuctured Approach (longish post)


Before we left for Hajj, I was testing out the unschooling waters and mashaAllah saw many benefits not just for R but as an entire family. Often, I see a trend in many home educators (including myself) where we concentrate so much on the eldest child and neglect to some extent the holistic education of subsequent children. I can see how easy it is to fall into this pattern especially if the little ones are perhaps preschool age or younger. It is something that I am trying not to do. Each of my children are special in their own right and in their own position in the family; be it 1st, 2nd or youngest!

On that basis, I have shuffled things around a bit. Now that we will be adopting a semi structured approach, I am leaving all formal PLANNED learning til the afternoon when at least one of the boys is napping. Z doesn’t look like he’ll be napping for very much longer in the afternoon.

So, here’s what happened yesterday:

  • After breakfast – kids played – poor Y – he always ends up in a doll’s cardigan!
  • Whilst they were playing, I hit upstairs with my cleaning products and changed sheets, cleaned bathroom etc
  • Then, I brought down R’s beads and the large Melissa and Doug beads and all of them enjoyed beading for around 40 minutes. I sat with them whilst they were doing this. I had actually thought that Z and Y would share the large toddler beads but Z surprised me by choosing R’s beads and made me his first ever bracelet! Good way of developing his fine motor skills. Was also very pleasantly surprised to see him quietly concentrating for so long.

Y got bored after a wall and so took out the box of animals. Whilst he was away, his vocabulary really picked up mashAllah and now he knows the names of quite a few animals and was very happy to tell me them as I lined up the animals for him.

  • R was still making a necklace for me and so the boys and I did some stenciling.

  • Prayed dhur
  • Made some spaghetti and had lunch.
  • Read to the boys.
  • R decided she wanted to make a Mosaic frame from an Art book she took out from the library last week. She read the instructions and started right away. She wants to frame a painting she recently completed. It is an adult paint by number of a horse that she finished a few days ago. It was quite difficult as each piece to paint is quite tiny and the paintbrush is very fine but she finished it (I think it took her almost 2 months).

R had to make the mosaic pieces and as the pattern involves tessellation, she had to draw a grid of 1cm x1cm squares. It was a good opportunity to bring a bit of Math and we discussed the centimetres and millimetres and a square having equal sides and the importance of precision and patience. After this, she cut up the squares from two different pieces of coloured card.

  •  Put boys to sleep
  • R then did Mental Math, two pages on measuring from the MEP Year 2 book.
  • Asr and as R started the work below, I hit some work with other things I’m doing
  • Quran – Murajaah and hifdh
  • Arabic reading and writing exercise
  • R announces she wants to do a country project on Antartica – so I started a bit of research on what I can put her way (a bit of unschooling facilitator coming in there!)
  • Boys woke up
  • R has taken an interest in poetry and words that rhyme recently. So, scrapping the English workbook for now and starting a unit on poetry from a book that a sister bought her from TK Maxx (amazing what you can find in there and jzk sis! 😉 )

    R is going to write a poem about Autumn and so she started a Spidergram in preparation for her poem content.

  • Maghrib
  • Hubby came home
  • I started cooking and doing a bit of tidying up
  • Boys were playing and R was telling hubby all about her day
  • Got R ready for kickboxing – she’s really motivated as she won ‘Student of the month’ and received a certificate and prize last week. Her instructor said she was very good in her techniques and behaviour. I think this is what she needed in order to increase her confidence – something I’m really worried about. I’ve noticed she is losing her confidence in many things – Im not sure if it is age related. Her instructor said she’s now ready for grading and so R is going to attempt to go for a kickboxing belt in a few weeks time.
  • Dinner and R went to kickboxing
  • Esha
  • Read about 8 books to the boys and then put them to bed
  • R returned from kickboxing, got changed, grabbed a Michael Morpurgo book she’s currently reading and read til about 9.15pm
  • She went to bed, I did some tidying up
  • And then finally…MY TIME! 🙂

(I often like to write these posts more for myself than anyone else. It allows me to see how much quality time Im giving to my kids (if any) and where I am wasting time and how I can better make use of my time. Although this blog is public, my main goal is recording this home ed journey so that my children and I can look back at it when they are young adults inshaAllah).

Unschooling – Day 1


Last night, I wrote down R’s list of what she would need to complete for today, Monday 10 Oct. After spending a considerable amount of time yesterday reading unschooling articles, pondering, reading some more – I decided to ditch the list and try out unschooling for 2 weeks!!! I’ll be recording our unschooling days as regularly as I can here on the blog inshaAllah!

And so, today was our first day of absolutely no routine except Quran. This is how it went 🙂

  • Baby Y woke up at 6am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (He seems to be waking up earlier and earlier these days – am not happy!)
  • I couldn’t go back to sleep, so eventually strolled out of bed and put the washing machine on.
  • R and Z woke up and got ready for breakfast
  • Over breakfast, informed them that we will be trying out a different method of ‘school’ and that basically they are free to choose what they want to do/what they want to learn. Only thing they have to do is Quran. R was really surprised.
  • Still eating breakfast, R asks me ‘Where are Vikings from?’ We discussed this and then I made a mental note to get a library book about it. – A bit of history!
  • Z decided to show me step by step how he can go to the toilet by himself. – Practical!
  • Baby Y brought 2 books for me to read. – English
  • Then R brought ‘Chocolate World’ for me to read. Read a short story for her. Excellent Islamic book – quite deep and great lessons to be learnt. Today, the story was abotu 3 children whose parents had died and the lesson was tawakkul (reliance on Allah) – English.
  • R started Quran
  • When Z saw his sister doing Quran, he wanted me to do his Quran (he’s learning Fatiha at the moment)
  • I brought lego down – boys started playing
  • Got them dressed one by one
  • Felt a sudden desire to be outdoors and so lastminute decided to go to the park to do tree rubbings, spot trees and wild flowers using Usborne Spot Cards and breathe in some fresh air – Science/Nature
  • As R was brushing her hair, I remembered that we were invited the following day to a sister’s house (she home eds too), so decided to bring in Islam and a bit of an independent thinking exercise as per a book I’m reading (The Bright Stuff by C.J. Simister). Mentioned the hadith about giving gifts to believers. Asked R what she thought was the benefit of this. Kept probing her and asking why – stimulates the child’s mind to create an independent thinker. After this, I told her about the invite and she decided to make a gift. You see, I could have told her to make a gift but it wouldn’t have had the same mental stimulation/outcome. – Islamic Studies
  • We went to the Park and had a wonderful time mashaAllah spotting different trees and flowers and then heading off to the children’s park on their scooters. Baby Y loved the  big slide – everyone was content alhamdulillah – here are some pics:

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  • Stopped off at Sainsburys
  • Came home made scrambled egg and allowed the children to make sandwiches with it (I tend not to do this as its quicker to make them myself) but they loved it and I guess it was practical learning for them – Practical
  • Over lunch, R states that it isn’t good to cut down trees. Again, working on independent thinking, I used one of the exercises in The Bright Stuff and made her consider the alternative. And so, I asked her whether it is entirely a bad idea or whether it is sometimes good to cut down trees. We discussed it and went backwards and forwards, I kept on at her to make her think about other possibilities. In the end she decided that as long as new trees are planted, recycling is on the increase, and animas habitats are not destroyed then it is not so bad. Was quite impressed with her independent conclusion mashaAllah. Really advise reading that book. – Geography/Science
  • Kids watched some cartoons whilst I FINALLY tended to the dishes from breakfast and lunch! Anyone who knows me personally or has been reading this blog for long enough, knows how particular I am about cleaning. But have decided that my kids are MORE IMPORTANT than a clean sink!!
  • Put boys down for a nap
  • At this point, thats when the test hit me. R wasn’t doing anything. She said she didn’t know what to do and was looking utterly bored! I gave her some options.
  • After considering her options, we played an entire game of scrabble – English
  • I hung out the washing from the morning (late!)
  • R read and lazed around – English
  • Boys up and playing
  • Texted the sister to ask her what her daughter likes as R wanted to make something based on the girl’s interests. Received text back that she likes cats!
  • R coloured in a picture of a cat, cut it out, stuck it to a card. She wrote her first draft of the inside message of the card. I corrected one spelling mistake (the word ‘because’). She wrote it out in her best handwriting into the card and decorated it with stickers. – Art and Craft/English
  • Z also coloured in a fireman and cut it out
  • Hubby came home
  • Forgot to give R a letter that had come for her in the post. It was the latest edition of Little Explorers Magazine.
  • R sat down and read about her favourite interest at the moment – Hajj and read out the steps of Hajj to us all. – English/Islamic Studies
  • Played connect 4 – Math
  • Kids watched an Arabic cartoon – Arabic
  • Dinner
  • Played and ran around like crazy
  • Read to the kids
  • Got ready for bed, duas and that was it for the day!

Back to Home Ed : Z


Today, we formally started a new structure. This year, I have two to teach. It’s currently just past 11:45am and Z has completed his formal home ed for the day. R is currently doing her Math as I write this so I’ll post about what she has done today either later today or tomorrow morning inshaAllah.

I spent a little part of each day in Ramadan preparing for the year’s home ed (rough skeleton for R and Z). And then got all of week 1 ready  – what each child will do each day and getting all resources together (there was a lot of laminating for Z’s stuff!) For Y, I’m distracting him during Z’s ‘school time’ with a box of things he doesn’t normally play with that will only come out at this time when I do Z’s stuff.

I’ll let the pictures and a brief description explain. Whilst R went and did her hifdh, Z and Y did the following. All of this took Z just under 1.5 hours this morning. May not seem a lot but he is still very young – the rest of the time will be his time to play inshaAllah.